ABU DHABI // Motorists in Dubai can now file reports of minor road mishaps at petrol stations, a move that generated mixed reactions from safety experts and residents.
Officers at Rashidiya police station are working on the pilot scheme with three Enoc stations: two on Mohammed bin Zayed Road and one on Al Warqaa near Mirdif. If successful, it will be rolled out across the city.
Enoc employees will help drivers to register a minor accident by using the Dubai Police smart app, removing the need to call police to the site of an accident or visit a police station.
“The service is now available at three stations since the launch last Sunday,” an Enoc spokesman said on Thursday.
“Fifteen of our employees have completed the training. At each station, four will be on hand to assist motorists.”
From a safety point of view it is a very good initiative, particularly because drivers will be allowed to move the vehicle to a safer location after a minor accident, said Nikki Carroll, an Irish resident of Dubai.
“It will also aid in reducing congestion on our busy roads, and free up valuable police time for major accidents,” she said.
In the event of a rear-end collision, drivers tend not to move their cars from the road while waiting for the police to arrive, which could put their lives at risk and cause tailbacks.
“If a four-lane road is busy and fast-moving, somebody coming up from behind and not paying attention could kill one of the drivers of the car – who may be outside having a look, perhaps talking on the phone – or crash into the cars that were in the accident,” Ms Carroll said.
“With this new initiative, the ability and the freedom to move the car to a safer location eliminates that by at least 90 per cent, depending on how quickly the cars are moved from the road.”
Phil Clarke, a principal road safety consultant at Transport Research Laboratory UAE, also welcomed the scheme.
“I think it’s understandable that the police do not want to commit patrols to minor incidents that don’t require their specialist knowledge and skills.
“That’s something that also applies in other parts of the world,” he said.
“The other thing it does – which is an advantage over the Saaed system – is it encourages drivers to move their vehicles out of the road when they have had a minor accident as clearly no one’s going to come to you, so you might as well move your car.”
Saaed is the patrol service that investigates minor road accidents in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates.
“The Enoc idea is to provide the service to people who do not have the app,” Mr Clarke said. “The app must be stable, reliable and easy to use or people will just revert to the old process of having to go the police to report the accident.”
Dubai resident Mathew Litty, 35, hoped there would be more campaigns to educate motorists on using the app. Last week, he called police after seeing his car’s side mirror hanging by its wires. “I hadn’t thought about using an app,” he said.
Motorists who file reports about minor accidents with the app will receive reports that can be cross-referenced by police and submitted to insurers. The app enabled users to photograph traffic offences and send them to the force.
“In Abu Dhabi, Saaed staff determine who’s at fault and you get the pink or green form there and then,” Mr Clarke said. “The advantage of that over the app is you get that piece of paper straight away.”
However, Glenn Havinoviski, a US-based transport expert, said the service patrol solution was a better option.